Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Nostalgia time: Christmas Season 1979

Halifax was a busy port for tugs over the Christmas season of 1979.

As previously reported here and in a recent Shipfax post, the French tug Abeille 30 was in port from December 21 to January 1, 1980. It was towing the broken down Algerian ship Biban from Montreal to Europe, but the ship needed drydocking in Halifax.

Abeille 30 revs up as she tows out Biban on New Year's Day 1980. 
Harbour tugs Point Vigour, Point Viking and Point Vim all assisted in getting the tow on the move.

Local tugs were being kept busy too, with Point Valiant assisting the three harbour tugs Point Vim, Point Vigour and Point Viking with docking the big bulk carrier Oremar.  I believe the ship was suffering some hull cracks and was escorted in to Halifax by Point Valiant.

Built in 1963 as Foundation Valiant, the tug was sold by Eastern Canada Towing to Three Rivers Boatmen in 1995 and renamed André H. Groupe Océan took over TRB and still operates the tug today.

There was quite a collection of tugs and suppliers at the Dartmouth Marine Slip. Front and centre was Tusker - a former Australian tug, acquired by McAsphalt Industries to tow its asphalt barge. It had yet to enter refit.
Pre-refit Tusker still wears the funnel marking "OSS".

Former Salvators on the left and former Shores on the right.

Also alongside were two Norwegian tugs, Odin Salvator and Orla Salavator. Both had recently been renamed, dropping the "Salavator" suffix, although the former became Odin II..

Two Canadian built suppliers, Scotian Shore and Breton Shore were in the process of reconfiguring as seismic survey vessels. Breton Shore had been renamed Edward O. Vettter, and Scotian Shore was to become Fred J. Agnich.

Two Fednav suppliers, Cathy B and Federal 6 also arrived for layover.

Glenkeen at the Irving  Oil dock, with the retired wooden tug Margaret Porter in the background.

The Glenkeen arrived from Montreal en route to the Caribbean. Built in 1945 at Kingston, ON it was one of 17 steel, and three wooden tugs of the Glen class built built for the Royal Canadian Navy. This one was of the A Type, with long deck house. Type Bs had a shorter house and no captain's cabin behind the wheelhouse. 
It operated for the National Harbours Board in Montreal until 1979 then sold to a Halifax company for work between Costa Rica and Columbia. That deal fell through and it sat in Halifax for a year until finally sailing in December 1980 ostensibly to work in Guadeloupe.

Another wartime build, Beaver Lily was laid up over Christmas at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth. Built in 1942 by Levingston Shipbuilding in Orange, TX for the United States Nay, it served in St.John's, NL as  ST 27. JPPorter acquired the tug post-war, and renamed it Catalina. It served them until Beaver Marine took it over in 1978. It also made its way to Guadeloupe, but in 1992 and returned to Canada in 1997 before heading south to US owners.

Another former JPPorter tug, JPP No. 11 was working in Sceptre Dredging colours at the former French Cable wharf in Dartmouth. The tug, built in 1958 in Montreal, had been acquired by Harbour Development Ltd, and was renamed HD No. 11 early in 1980. Sceptre took over many Porter assets in 1978, but soon sold off when it didn't find much work.

JPP No.11 moves the Cranemaster, with Biban in the background at Halifax Shipyard.

Eastern Canada Towing's Point Carroll, pitched in to help with harbour berthing work. Not well suited, since it steering nozzle was fairly slow acting, it was only used when all other tugs were busy.

Point Carroll sailed on Dec 22, and escorted Biban in on December 24, also assisting in its docking at the Shipyard. 
During 2015 the tug has been laid up in Hamilton, ON. Under McKeil Marine ownership since 2001 as Tony MacKay, the tug has seen better days since it was built in 1973.

Atlantic Towing Ltd had its big tug Irving Birch in Halifax toward year's end, tying up at the old Irving Oil wharf in Halifax. Built in 1967, it was a great tug, performing many salvage tows, but also handled barge tows. It became Atlantic Birch in 1999, and was scheduled for the scrap list last year, but as of June 2015 it was still intact at the Indiantown dock in Saint John.

 Atlantic Birch, Atlantic Pine, Atlantic Elm and Swellmaster at Atlantic Towing's Indiantown facility in Saint John last summer.

There is no use complaining about the current state of tugs in Halifax, but by comparison my January 1, 1980 count of ships in port included 21 tugs, suppliers and workboats. Eastern Canada Towing alone accounted for six tugs.


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